Title and lead line: "Obama Signing Statement: The NDAA Doesn’t Apply To US Citizens":
In his signing statement attached to the NDAA, President Obama made it clear that the language about detentions does not apply to US citizens.
The website: PoliticusUSA.com, "Real Liberal Politics. No Corporate Money. No Masters."
The part about no masters will have to be changed because, previously a fairly reputable news source in that its biases are clearly stated and up-front, this report sadly undermines any credibility it may ever have had.
Too bad. I had no problem citing them as a source before now.
The report showcases the now debunked NDAA signing statement by Obama, as the article comments clearly show that even the readers are better informed than the website. The key signing statement language:
Second, under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any “existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” My Administration strongly supported the inclusion of these limitations in order to make clear beyond doubt that the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force.) Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.
But the ACLU said:
“President Obama's action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law...Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody..."
Why would the ACLU take a directly contrary position to PoliticusUSA.com? I have pointed out many times before, people may think that "existing law" is the Bill of Rights. But it is not. Existing law is in flux, and right now it is Jose Padilla, who Fourth Circuit affirmed could be held indefinitely by the military without charge or trial. Sen. Lindsey Graham made this abundantly clear on the Senate floor during debate:
Are you familiar with the Padilla case? That is a Federal court case involving an American citizen captured in the United States who was held for several years as an enemy combatant...The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said: An American citizen can be held by our military as an enemy combatant, even if they are caught in the United States... the law of the land is that an American citizen can be held as an enemy combatant. That went to the Fourth Circuit. That, as I speak, is the law of the land.
As well, (as I have also said before,) if the law does not allow "the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," why would Obama need to promise that his administration will not "authorize" what he is not allowed to do in the first place? That's a bit of a slip for someone as clever as Obama, and a smoking gun.
It is surprising that Politicususa.com does not invoke the other red herring, the language in Section 1022: "(b) APPLICABILITY TO UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS":
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States."
For the millionth time, even if military custody is not "required," it is still "allowed," by the plain meaning of the text in Section 1021 (page 265 of final bill), in substance:
"Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force ...to detain...A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda...or associated forces...including any person who has...directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces...The disposition of a person...may include...Detention under the law of war...without trial until the end of the hostilities..."
Who makes the determination, with no evidence, or showing of probable cause required, without right to counsel, or any contact with family or friends allowed, that you have "substantially supported...associated forces?" The same government which said it was "100% certain" that Brandon Mayfield's fingerprints were a match in the Madrid train bombing, until the Spanish authorities went public with the FBI error after telling the FBI privately, repeatedly, that they had the wrong guy in Mayfield. Mayfield would be rotting in prison this very moment were it not for the Spanish government.
Politicususa.com does, however, use the discredited but still often used analysis quoted in Lawfareblog.com:
“We would also note that, under a plain-language reading, section 1022 would not even cover persons apprehended in the U.S. by the FBI or other law-enforcement officials: That provision applies only to a person “who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the AUMF”—and in the case of a domestic FBI or other law-enforcement arrest, presumably neither the arresting entity nor the individual would be engaged in “hostilities authorized by the AUMF.” On this reading—which is fortified by the language clarifying that 1022 does not affect FBI authorities—the statute could only apply in the first instance to someone captured by a U.S. agency acting pursuant to the AUMF, which in effect would mean apprehensions by the armed forces overseas.”
But real "clarifying language" would say simply: "Nothing in this bill shall be construed to abridge the Sixth Amendment rights of U.S. citizens, under any circumstances." Lawfareblog.com's "clarifying language" is about as clear as mud.
Jose Padilla was arrested on American soil, by the FBI, then turned over to the military on the demand of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Remember Padilla is the one who was originally supposed to be plotting to blow up a "dirty bomb" in NYC, which then changed to using gas lines to blow up apartment buildings, neither allegation of which ever made it into the charges when he was finally released to civilian trial 4 years later, to avoid Supreme Court review of his indefinite military detention.
A vegetable by the time of his trial whose "temperament," his attorney said, "was so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of ‘a piece of furniture," Padilla was convicted on the basis of a "CIA agent" who was allowed to remain nameless and testify in disguise including, wig, sunglasses, and facial hair, and a purported "Al Qaeda application form" complete with a line for "Emergency Contact."
In addition the very grounds relied on by the Fourth Circuit was the AUMF, citing World war II precedent in Ex Parte Quinn. So when Lawfareblog says "presumably neither the arresting entity nor the individual would be engaged in “hostilities authorized by the AUMF,"" it presumes wrong.
Lawfareblog says that the NDAA would "in effect would mean apprehensions by the armed forces overseas." But Jose Padilla showed that the whole world was now the battlefield.
So I guess it is no surprise that Politicususa.com never reported that is was a fellow Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin, Chairman of the Armed Service Committee, who charged that is was Obama who asked him to include military detention of Americans in the first place, which was not originally in the Senate bill S. 1867 or the House bill which preceded. Levin says that Americans were firmly excluded from either a requirement or an allowance that they be held in military custody by the language of the original bills, but the Obama administration asked him to remove that:
Sen. Levin (addressing Senate president):
Is the senator familiar with the fact that it was the administration which asked us to remove the very language we had in the bill which passed the committee and that we removed it at the request of the administration... that would have said that this determination would not apply to US citizens and lawful residents? I'm just wondering is the senator familiar with the fact it was the administration which asked us to remove the very language [excluding US citizens], the absence of which, is now objected to by the senator from Illinois?"
Thus RIP, credibility of PoliticusUSA.com. I used to like you. You are now complicit in this treasonous deception of the American people.